Federal changes in reporting race and ethnicity of faculty, staff and students – Deadline May 22, 2009

Published: April 3rd, 2009

Category: Memos

Paula Varnes Fussell, Interim Vice President for Human Resource Services

As you may already know, the federal government has issued guidelines for changes in the reporting of race and ethnicity status of individuals. Unlike in previous years, respondents will be able to select more than one race descriptor. The goal is to capture a more accurate picture of diversity of the U.S. population. The 2000 U.S. Census was the first experiment with the new coding structure. Beginning in 2010, federal and state data reporting will include new choices to describe race and ethnicity. As a result of these changes, we are asking you to provide us with certain information as described below by May 22, 2009.

The Federal Government requires that the new race/ethnicity codes be reported by 2010. This will require the University of Florida to change many of our systems, databases, and computer programs well ahead of that date. These changes will impact the type of information we collect, store and ultimately report to various regulating bodies. Examples of data that will be impacted include employee information, student data, and law enforcement statistics, among others. Organizations with which we do business or exchange information will also be changing their data on race and ethnicity and we will need to accommodate their data changes.

In order to prepare for these changes, the university has created the Race and Ethnicity Codes Transition Team, a group of UF staff members that operates under the auspices of UF’s Office of Human Resource Services. The team’s mission is to help guide the university through this change so we are able to comply properly with the new federal guidelines.

The transition is expected to take about two years. Beginning in the fall of 2009, the university will resurvey individual faculty, staff, and students to give them the opportunity to identify their race and ethnicities using the new codes.

To help you navigate this process, the transition team has created a web page that includes some basic information about the change, a list of frequently asked questions and answers, a timeline for the transition process, as well as other resources. The web site is located at http://www.ir.ufl.edu/OIRApps/ethnicity_code_changes/start.aspx.

On this web page, you will be asked to identify all of the systems, databases and computer programs on campus that will need to be changed to accommodate the new race and ethnicity codes. To this end, the web site contains a set of online forms for you to use in reporting. You will need a GatorLink ID to enter the data. You are asked only to report those systems, databases, or computer programs for which you have ownership or responsibility. The University’s main administrative systems are being inventoried separately.

Please complete your online reporting by May 22, 2009.

Further communications regarding the transition of this project will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please take a few minutes to visit the web site, familiarize yourself with the transition, and determine how these changes may affect you.

If you have any questions, please contact either Marie Zeglen, Assistant Provost for Institutional Planning and Research, at zeglenm@ufl.edu or Larry T. Ellis, Director of Administration & Equal Employment Opportunity, at larry-ellis@ufl.edu.

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